Mike at the Movies: The Gentlemen

The Gentlemen (R)

If you ever wondered what a “director’s film” vs. an ordinary film is like, here is an example of a director’s film. Guy Ritchie has so much fun with this movie that it should not be allowed. He has a fantastic cast, led by Hugh Grant as the storyteller Fletcher.

Yeah, I know that Matthew McConaughey is in most of the ads as the lead, but believe me, Grant walks away with the movie. Charlie Hunnam as Ray comes a close second, but the action stops with the magnificent Michelle Dockery as Rosalind Pearson. She is so stunning in the role that every time she appears it seems the movie stops to behold her, even when she’s spotted with a villain’s blood.

There’s a lot of blood in the movie as it is the story of one man’s large crop of marijuana desired by several other unscrupulous characters, the least attractive of which may be Dry Eye (Henry Golding). Hugh Grant is simply unbelievably good as Fletcher, the man who supposedly has all the answers and all the photos to prove what he says. As each villain takes a swipe at Mickey Pearson (McConaughey), it becomes apparent that nobody is apt to get to him, even though it appears that several of the bad guys have him dead to rights.

Aside from the complex story of a variety of gangs trying to get Mickey’s pot, there is the technique of part of the story told by Fletcher (who sometimes lies) and another part by real-time events. It is always made clear (eventually) which is which. Along with the switches in narrative form, there are amazing changes in scenery, point of view, situation and images. The only character who seems to be reliable is Mickey.

There are subplots—a notable kidnapping of Laura (Eliot Sumner), a heroin addict, and the antics of the gang who have a remarkable hip hop feature I won’t detail them here to confuse you further. Simply sit back and marvel at the genius of Richie and his cast and a real old-fashioned gangster romp.

The Turning (PG-13)

It takes a great job to make me appreciate horror films. When they are as hacked up and intentionally strange as this piece of junk, I appreciate them less. Ostensibly a “modern take” on Henry James’ novella, “The Turn of the Screw,” this becomes a standard horror flick filled with lots of rooms in an Irish mansion, dark lighting, and suddenly appearing ghostlike figures. Finn Wolfhard is the villain of the piece. He gets tossed out of prep school for choking a fellow classmate. Brooklynn Prince as the young Flora could be a villain too, but the director lets her just be weird.

Weirdness dominates this attempt at scariness, but it fails to stir anything but boredom. Skip it and see almost anything else.

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